When is permission to advertise not permission to advertise?
The following decision from RECO Discipline and Appeals Hearings was recently published in the OREA “Edge”. The full case has been condensed and all names have been changed.
Bob and Laura listed their home with David, a sales representative with Exclusive Estates Inc. When the buyers, Annie and Ian, made an offer to purchase this property, the documents included an advertising provision. That provision authorized David’s brokerage to advertise information about the listing and sale of the property.
After some negotiation, Bob and Laura agreed to sell their property to Annie and Ian. In the final stages of the transaction, both buyers and sellers agreed to remove from the offer the advertising provision. They struck it out and initialed the change.
Despite this agreed-upon revision, David published a newspaper advertisement several months later that referenced this sale. He identified himself as the listing representative and included in the ad the general location of the property and the selling price.
The RECO panel determined that David acted unprofessionally by including information in the ad that could potentially identify the property when the owners had not consented in writing. David also included aspects of the agreement even though the sellers and buyers had not given written consent. The panel ruled that David breached the following sections of the REBBA 2002 Code of Ethics: 2(1) – Brokers and Salespersons; 3 – Fairness and honesty, etc. and 36(8) and
36(9) – Advertising.
David was fined $10,000 payable to the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). The full decision is among those dated 2012/10/02 and can be viewed at www.reco.on.ca. Look under “Complaints and Enforcement” on the bottom left of the page, then go to “Discipline and appeals /Hearings and decisions.” Choose the year 2012 and search by date and topics: Advertising and Duty to Client.